Good weather has proved to be challenging this summer for Shannon Heritage, the operator behind some of Ireland’s most popular tourist sites.
According to The Irish Times, Shannon Heritage managing director Niall O’Callaghan said that bad weather early in the year combined with a hot summer that has seen domestic tourists bypass a lot of attractions in favour of the beach has been a challenge for the company.
O’Callaghan asserted, “We don’t ask for too much – we just don’t want it too hot or too cold!”
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However, approximately 511,000 tourists have still visited the company’s eight sites this year, which include the GPO in Dublin, Craggaunowen and Bunratty Castle in Co. Clare, and King John’s Castle in Limerick city.
Part of the Shannon Group, Shannon Heritage was originally launched in 1963 with the medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle, which experienced its best year ever in 2017. Now, Shannon Heritage is targeting expansion right across the country, having won contracts to operate sites at Malahide Castle, the 1916 experience at the GPO and Newbridge House in Donabate. O’Callaghan stated that the company is planning to bring 14 sites under its control by 2021.
He explained, “We want to apply our expertise outside the midwest region, and we saw an opportunity to partner up with other State entities.”
Factors that benefit Shannon Heritage include North American tourism and the new air route from Toronto to Shannon as well as the tourism sector’s special 9% VAT rate, which O’Callaghan hopes will be retained in this year’s budget.
He commented, “A key one for us would be to retain the VAT rate at current levels; we don’t want to be in a position where prices will increase for visitors.”
© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.